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Blog of Extreme

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Location: Sarawak, Malaysia

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Navigate for Vacation 2009

So last week was my annual holiday trip for me and Ling, and we decided this year to travel international, and we went all the way to Singapore! OK, that ain't too far, but maybe next year we'll try for a more exotic location.

The whole thing began last Friday, July 3rd, as my brother from Singapore came to visit to attend our cousin's wedding that following Saturday. The wedding itself was a nice little ceremony, and we made it there just in time as the bride arrived. That evening was the dinner at Eastwood Valley, which was good, but the activities went way too long and guests started leaving while the bride & groom where still visiting guests table to table. Still, congrats to Mel & Angeline and hope they have a long life together.

DAY 1 (6/07/2009)
Our flight was on Monday evening, so we had the whole day to get ready and prepare for the trip. I sent my car for some much needed servicing, and was lucky to find a dollar someone had dropped. That palled in comparison to what my wife got, as that evening at the airport we ate at 1901 hot dogs and the cashier mis-counted her change and gave us almost 30 bucks more than it should have been! We asked her twice if sum was correct, and since she didn't notice it, it was her loss :P
Speaking of our flight, it being Air Asia and all, wouldn't you know there would be a delay? In this case it was delayed by about 40-minutes. Luckilly I had my PSP with the newly installed Pangya Fantasy Golf to help kill time. When we finally get on the flight it was a rather bumpy ride with a lot of air turbulence. NOT the way I like to fly.
When we reach Johor, my brother had his car waiting for us at the parking lot, but on the way to Singapore he missed one of the turns and we ended up taking a much longer route to the border, and we finally arrived at our hotel at about 11pm! We were staying at the Golden Landmark Hotel at Bugis Street, and since we didn't call ahead to inform them of our late arrival, they only had twin bedrooms available and we didn't have much choice then. Me and my brother made a quick trip to the 7-Eleven accross the street from the hotel to get a few snacks and toiletries before me and Ling called it a night and got some much needed sleep.

DAY 2 (7/07/2009)
Happy Anniversary to us! Honestly, I couldn't sleep well that night, and I was awake at about 6am already! Not wanting to bother Ling, I grabbed my PSP and plugged in the headphones to kill some time and try to tire myself back to sleep. Didn't quite work. We went for breakfast at about 9am and was rather dissapointed with the breakfast selection, mostly that they ran out of pancakes and replaced it with french toast. Shops didn't open until at least 11am, so we walked around the hotel area to see what we could see, Ling catching the attention of a flock of pigeons at one point.
At about 11am my brother came to pick us up and sent us to the Singapore Zoo, a place I had been wanting to visit since we started planning this trip. I thought we would kill half the day going around here and spend the rest of it around town somewhere. It surprised me then that it took us the whole day to get around that place, and we still missed a few things as by 6pm in the evening they had locked up a few of the animals such as the polar bear and the big cats! We were burned out by the time we reached back to the hotel, and we ended up calling room service for dinner rather then going out for a romantic anniversary dinner.

DAY 3 (8/07/2009)
I went out for breakfast earlier today cause I didn't want to miss the pancakes. And I was lucky to get my share :). We spent this day checking out what we could around town. First stop was the new Iluma Mall on Bugis Street near the hotel, though we did stop at Bugis Street open air market along the way to see what they had. A lot of food and pirated goods XP.
Iluma itself was interesting as it wasn't as big as some of the other malls, and since it was new, not a lot of stores had opened up there yet. The food court was up and running though, and it was HUGE! A wide variety of international food outlets there, one of the highlights being a huge 8-inch burger at Empire State Restaurant, which costs a whopping SG$29.90 (RM73), and the other was the big Japanese street area with a variety of Japanese foods. Everything felt out of our price range though, and we ended up having lunch at a Japanese restaurant called Benten, which served Japanese hamburger steaks and parfait deserts. I always wanted to try one of those, and it didn't dissapoint.
There was also a Filmgarde cineplex at Iluma and we bought ticket to watch Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen that night, and near the cineplex was an arcade with a whole host of games I so desperately wanted to play, but never made it here to Miri: KoF XII, Street Fighter IV, Tatsunoko VS Capcom, the new 3D Samurai Showdown game, and more!
When were done at Iluma, we caught an MRT to City Hall to check out things there. I picked up a pair of CDs at Grammaphone, Rammstein's Reise Reise and Fear Factory's Archtype, both I had been wanting the original CDs of for a long time now. And I bought myself an SG$8 shirt at the Factory Outlet at a nearby mall. We spent the rest of the day walking around that mall checking out all the video game and electronics shops before heading back to the hotel to rest up for the evenings outings.
My brother picked us up around 7pm and brought us to Carl's Jr. for dinner. This place had a nice classic American diner feel to it, and served up some really BIG burgers! It didn't match the one I saw at Empire State, but still put as big a smile on my face. Should have taken some picture of the place. After that it was back to Bugis to watch the movie, making a quick stop at Bugis Central so we could check out the DC shop there selling DC Comics related clothes and accessories. Problem with places like this is they never have my size. We then caught the movie and it wasn't as bad as most of the reviews I've read made it out to be. I might right up a seperate review for it later. Movie finished, it was another quick stop to check out the arcade before going back to the hotel to call it a night, though I did stay up a bit to watch Die Hard 4 on TV and the Michael Jackson funeral.

DAY 4 (9/07/2009)
We started our day in town almost getting lost trying to find the Antique Toy Museum. We eventually find it and they have a nice collection of some really old collectables there. The place just seems rather small for the fee we had to pay to get in, even after our 30% discount for being Toys'R'Us card holders. After that we met up with my brother again who brought us for lunch at a popular beef noodle store. It really didn't taste like anything special though. He dropped us off at Takashimaya on Orchard Road and we spent the rest of the afternoon there, mostly checking out the food fair that was currently going on.
After that we went to Border's Bookshop to check out the CD section, as the last time I was there a few years ago there was a lot of good stuff. Unfortunately that was then, and this is now, and aside from everything not being arranged properly and jumbled up, I didn't find anything that I was willing to pay SG$22 bucks for.
It was getting late, so we head back to the hotel to rest up a bit before heading out to Bugis Central again for dinner and to look around. We had Tappenyaki there but I don't know why they chose to prepare the meals for the teens that came after us before our meals, which really slowed things down for us.
After that, I went to Iluma accross the street again to play some games at the arcade. I didn't get a chance at SFIV as there were alot of people lining up to play, so I played KOFXII instead, and I like the totally new look and feel of the game. Only downside is there is no boss and you are playing for the fastest time instead. I ended up beating the game in 75th place on my second playthrough. I also played Tatsunoko VS Capcom, another fun game that you can only play at home on a Nintendo Wii. Lots of fun until you reach the last boss, a huge orb that doesn't sell any of your attacks! Ling met up with me at the arcade after walking around on her own and we made our way back to the hotel to call it a night.

DAY 5 (10/07/2009)
After breakfast this day we went seperate ways to do some last minute shopping. I took an MRT to Orchard Road to get something I had seen the previous day before heading back to Bugis and meeting up with Ling, then heading to Iluma to get some novelty souveniers from the Amoeba shop there. It was then back to the hotel to pack and check out. My brother picked us up and we stopped by another mall on the way to have lunch, and we ate at the Burger King this time before making our way back to the airport at Johor. There were no delays for the flight this time, and the flight was a lot more comfortable compared to the one we took to Johor. We touched down early and Ling's brother picked us up in my car which I had sent to him for servicing. Dropping him and Ling's sister off, we made our way home and spent the rest of the weekend relaxing as our legs were killing us from all the walking we did on our trip.

Looking back, we could have planned this trip better as there were still a lot of places we wanted to check out. But it doesn't help when all the store there open at about 11am, so half our day is wasted just sitting around the hotel. Next year we might go someplace a little more exotic, but I definitely hope to visit Singapore again. Maybe when the WWE makes another Asian tour?

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